We have reached the final entry of our Season Preview series. Just think, next week we no longer will have try and preview the season as the season will be getting underway. The only thing left to preview-after sharing with you our bold predictions, and forecasting the Cubs season- is to take a look at Major League Baseball as a whole. For those that are looking for the World Series drought for the Cubs to be over this year, I’m sorry but it is “wait till next year” for the north siders. With that in mind, lets take a look at how Luke, Joe, and myself preview the 2011 season for Major League Baseball.
- Jordan’s MLB Season Preview
- East: Red Sox-After missing the playoffs last season, the Boston Red Sox were determined to jump into the same category as the New York Yankees. And that they did with the acquisitions of Carlos Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez to go along with a very strong pitching rotation. The Yankees are not as high and mighty as they once were, and the rest of the division is stuck in rebuilding mode. The Red Sox should have an easy time winning the division.
- Central: Detroit Tigers- While the American League Central will not be the strongest division in baseball, it may be the division with the most parity. The Tigers, Chicago White Sox, and Minnesota Twins are likely to be the favorites to win the division. But, the Kansas City Royals are not that far away from being mentioned along the division favorites. For now, the Tigers’ addition of Victor Martinez to compliment Miguel Cabrera should pay dividends.
- West: Oakland Athletics- Every year I look at the Oakland Athletics and think that this will be the year that they pass the Rangers or pass the Angels and win the American League West. After being let down by the Athletics the past two seasons, this year will not be any different. For some reason, I am still going with the Athletics to upset the Rangers for the division crown. The Athletics have a very strong pitching staff, but their offense could be their downfall this season. It may be cliche, but you win with pitching and defense, that is why I see the Athletics winning the division.
- Wild Card: Baltimore Orioles- Stop laughing, this is not a joke. While the Yankees, Red Sox, and to a lesser degree the Tampa Bay Rays get all the attention in their division; the Orioles have silently had an excellent off-season. The additions of Derrek Lee, and Vladimir Gonzalez definitely will give the Orioles a boost on offense. Also, if Brian Roberts proves to be healthy for the entire season, then the Orioles may even be among the top run scorers for this season. Also do not overlook the addition of Justin Duchscherer to their rotation, he was a Cy Young candidate not too long ago, and will be again if he stays healthy.
- East: Philadelphia Phillies- In anticipation of this post, I was looking up and down the National League East trying to find a way where the Phillies would not win the division. Bottom Line–Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels are just too good.
- Central: St Louis Cardinals- If you’re trying to find any way from a baseball standpoint that I could pick the Cardinals, believe me, so am I. It is just one of those feelings I have that you can never count out the Cardinals and Tony LaRussa. Even with Adam Wainwright out for the season, they still have a pretty good pitcher in the form of Chris Carpenter. While Wainwright’s injury will effect the Cardinals in some fashion, I do not think it will be to the extent that most predict it will be. Not to mention that I am not particularity impressed with the Milwaukee Brewers or Cincinnatti Reds. As for the Cubs, I’d imagine they will remain in contention but finish the season in fourth place.
- West: San Francisco Giants-Much like the Phillies, the Giants rotation is just too strong for any other team in the West to compete with. With the exception of the Giants, the rest of the National League West division is stuck in the re-tooling phase.
- Wild Card: Atlanta Braves- Beyond the division winners there really is no other team that sticks out at me. The Braves are the best of the rest.
National League Champion:
- Phillies-Like I mentioned before you win in baseball with a strong rotation and a timely offense. The Phillies have that and some, and should be on a path to the World Series.
American League Champion:
- Red Sox- I always hate to go with the off-season favorites, but much like the Phillies, the Red Sox are just too good to pass up.
World Series Winner:
- Red Sox- The difference between the Phillies and the Red Sox is their offenses. The Phillies have a great offense that features Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, and Chase Utley. But, the Red Sox offense is much more potent with the additions of Crawford, and Gonzalez and should give them the advantage over the Phillies.
American League MVP: Alex Rodriguez. This is not the early 200′s, I know that, but so far Rodriguez has been hitting like it was 2001 all over again. Rodriguez is determined to get past Barry Bonds, and be the all-time leader for home runs. Expect to hear the saying an “A-Bomb from A-Rod” a lot this season. I do realize that it is extremely risky picking a player whose team does not make the playoffs, but that just goes to show you how confident I am that Rodriguez will have a strong year.
National League MVP: Prince Fielder. Again I realize I am committing a baseball sin and giving the MVP to a player who won’t be in the playoffs, but Fielder is in line for a great year. Despite the fact that Fielder is a free agent after this season, most of the attention has gone exclusively to Albert Pujols. In an effort to try and jump by Pujols this season, Fielder will prove that he is worth just as much money as Pujols is.
American League Cy Young: Trevor Cahill. If the Oakland Athletics win their division, Cahill is going to a big reason why they do. Cahill should have won the Cy Young last season, but now that he is on the radar, this is his time to grab the award.
National League Cy Young: Cole Hamels. You would think that if a Phillies starting pitcher was going to win the Cy Young, it would be Lee, Halladay, or Oswalt. But, Cole Hamels will have the best season out of all of them. Hamels is an ace who is pitching out of the fourth spot of a rotation, he should easily get a lot of favorable match-ups this season, which is why he will be the National League Cy Young,
American League Manager of the Year: Buck Showalter. For obvious reasons if the Orioles win the Wild Card.
National League Manager of the Year: Tony LaRussa. Even though everyone seems to downplay the Cardinals after the loss of Adam Wainwright, I’m confident LaRussa will find a way to make the Cardinals division winners once again.